Sundance expected to bring much needed crowds to Park City

Posted at 1:27 PM, Jan 19, 2012

Thursday marks opening day for Utah's Sundance Film Festival in Park City.

It is expected to be the biggest festival in years, drawing more than 40,000 people to town.  Hotel bookings are up and restaurants have been packed, seeing crowds for the first time since Christmas.  This is good news for area businesses.  It's been a tough year for the tourism industry because of the low snow fall.

“Having all this snow coming now, with international press being here it's just going to help us carry through February and March,” said Charles O'Brien, of Butchers Chop House and Bar.  “[It will] make up for this time when we kind of did loose because of weather.”

The city expects festival spending to be near $50 million and attribute that to the improving economy.

“This place transforms overnight,” said Linda Sandwith, of Lexington, Ky.  “It's magical. It starts off plain, and then all the sudden you'll see store front and things change.  The lights go on and people start coming.”